Tag Archive: vishnu


Goddess Gujeswari

“Anapurnadevi – Hindu Goddess of Abundance” by Geoglyphiks

“Gujeswari’s themes are Earth, water, abundance, offering and prayer. Her symbol is a bowl of water. Gujeswari is a potent Nepalese Goddess of Earth and all its bounty, and today is Her festival day, known as Gujeswari Jatra. In many temples, the Goddess’s presence is represented by a simple bowl of water, the life-giving substance and purifier of body, mind and spirit.

Buddhists and Hindus in this region honor the mother Goddess Gujeswari today by giving Her offerings, usually preceded by fasting and prayer.  Follow this example, and put a bowl of fresh water on your altar or a special place where it won’t be disturbed for the day. If physically feasible, abstain from eating one meal today to honor the Earth and Gujeswari’s goodness by returning (or preserving) some of that bounty. Otherwise, simply abstain from a favorite food for the day as a kind of sacred sacrifice.

At the end of the day, just before you go to bed, sprinkle the water from the bowl around your living space. First, go counter-clockwise to banish negative energy that hinders free-flowing blessings. Then go clockwise, allowing Gujeswari’s water to cleanse and renew the ambiance in every room.  If you have some left over, sprinkle your pets (for health), your car (for safety in travel), and children’s beds (to protect them from nightmares), and dab some on mechanical objects to keep them working smoothly.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

I really couldn’t find anything on today’s Goddess or the festival; it seems as if this Goddess and festival are some big secret.  The only information I could find was on a temple called Guhyeshwari Temple, that I had initially assumed would be dedicated to Her.  “Guhyeshwari Temple, also spelled Guheswari or Guhjeshwari, is one of the revered holy temples in KathmanduNepal. This temple is dedicated to Adi Shakti. This refers to the popular legend where Shiva distressed was carrying the corpse of Devi Sati and Vishnu annihilated it with his Sudarshan Chakra. Shiva later declared the 51 such places where Devi Sati’s body parts fell to be worshipped as the Shakti Peethas and meditated at all these places as various forms of Bhairavas. The place where Devi Sati’s knees fell is Guheswari in Kathmandu. In Nepal the form of Shakti is Mahashira and the form of Bhairava is Kapali. King Pratap Malla built this temple in the 17th century.

The temple name originates from guhya (cave) and ishwari (goddess). Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter this temple.

Guheswari Temple is located near Pashupatinath Temple. It represents female force.” [1]

  

In another piece I read on nepal.com, it states: “The two main religions in Nepal are Hinduism and Buddhism and very often worshipers from the two faiths intermingle at temples and shrines. This sort of interfaith is practiced throughout the country though really each person is worshiping his or her equivalent of the god to which the temple or shrine is dedicated. There are a few exceptions to this intermingling of believers though and the Guheswari Temple is one of them. The temple is strictly a Hindu temple and all non-Hindus – whether the person is Christian, Buddhist or from some other faith – are not allowed access to the temple courtyard let alone the temple itself.

The Guheswari Temple in Nepal is a very sacred temple which is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati. The name ‘Guheswari’ is sometimes also spelled ‘Guhyeshwari’ or ‘Guhjeshwari’. The temple has a strong sexual connotation that is not only linked to its fabled beginning but also to its name. According to legend the wife of Lord Shiva, Parvati, sacrificed Her life by burning Herself to death in Her father’s ritual fire. Her distressed husband then chose to wander the world, carrying the body of his dead wife as he did so. As he passed over the spot where the Guheswari Temple is located today it is said that Her ‘yoni’, or female sex symbol, fell to the earth. In the 1653 King Pratap Malla saw fit to restore the magnificent Gushewari Temple. This temple represented the female force that Parvati was the very embodiment of.

Guhyeshwari (Guhjeshwari) Temple by goutammitra

The Guheswari Temple is located in Kathmandu not far from the Pashupatinath Temple. The actual temple does not house any images of the legendary Goddess but there are a lot of other things here worth seeing. The building is ornate and beautiful and the worship of the people here is usually very sincere and touching. Many believe this to be the temple to go to in order to pray for marital fidelity and a lot of different Hindus will make the trip here to ensure that their marriages do not suffer.” [2]

Several other articles I read also said that this is where Her yoni had fallen.  This makes more sense to me as when you break Guheswari down: guhya (cave) and ishwari (goddess) – the cave is a very earthy and primordial symbol of the womb; which is exclusively female – making it a female force.   Also, I found that “devotees offer wine, eggs etc. in a holy orifice which has been regarded as the place of  worship since times immemorial.” [3]  Again, eggs being a very feminine symbol and this holy orifice symbolizing the yoni.

“Yoni” by ~aerphis

So, in conclusion, I do not believe that Gujeswari is a Goddess per se, but more of a primal force, aspect or attribute of Parvati, who is considered as complete incarnation of Adi Parashakti (who is considered to be truly spirit without form – the Great Divine Mother Goddess, the source of all other Goddesses).  Good stuff to wrap your head around, eh?

 

 

 

Sources:

Geneeyuss-placesofpilgrimageofnepal.blogspot.com, “GUHESWARI TEMPLE“.

Nepal.com, “Guheswari Temple“.

Wikipedia, “Guhyeshwari Temple“.

 

Suggested Links:

Nkdedhann.com, “List of 51 Shakti Peetha of Goddess Durga“.

Wikipedia, “Adi Parashakti“.

Wikipedia, “Mother Goddess [Hinduism]“.

Goddess Dharani

“Dharani’s themes are luck, abundance, wealth and beginnings. Her symbols are baskets (filled), basil (sacred plant), rice and seedlings.  In Indian mythology, Dharani is the wealth-providing, luck-bringing, abundant aspect of Lakshmi. This prosperity, which She freely offers to us when our storehouses grow scant, is potently portrayed in artistic renderings, which show Her with an overflowing basket of rice or seedlings.

Around this time of year, people in India celebrate Diwali, a festival of lights, which is the beginning of the Hindu new year. This festival also venerates Dharani in the hopes of getting the new year off to a really good start.

To invoke Dharani’s good fortune, wash your floors, car, shoes, pets, and/or clothing with basil water to rid yourself of any lingering bad luck. Since basil is Dharani’s sacred herb, it banishes any energy of which the Goddess doesn’t approve!

Light candles carved with your personal good-luck emblems to that the shadows in your life will be free. When the flam melts the image, Dharani’s magic for good fortune is released (if you like, anoint that with a little basil oil, too).

Finally, to bless anyone visiting your home or desk today, fill a basket with rice cakes, offering some to any passers-by. This way you share the wealth and allow the Goddess to bring Her prosperity to many more lives.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Bumi Devi @ Mother Earth” by Q. Arlene

While researching this Goddess, I found that She was an avatar of Lakshmi and apparently a minor Goddess.  “Dharani (also dharini), in Hinduism as mentioned in epic and Puranic texts, is a Goddess, the consort of Parasurama (the sixth avatar of Vishnu), and avatar of Goddess Laksmi.

In Buddhism, dharani is the collective name for a group of deities; twelve personifications of a particular type of mystic religious text used as a charm.” [1]

On Exoticindiaart.com, I found that while “Kamala is denotative of [Lakshmi’s] form as Lotus Goddess; Dharini [is] suggestive of Her immense power to bear, is denotative of the earth and thus of Her Bhoodevi form.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Exoticindiaart.com, “Lakshmi – The Lotus Goddess“.

Lowchensaustralia.com, “Indian Goddesses – D“.

Themystica.org, “Dharani“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Biharlokmanch.org, “About Lakshmi and her various Avatars“.

Lotussculpture.com, “Lakshmi – The Hindu Goddess of Wealth“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sri Lakshmi“.

Goddess Lakshmi

“Lakshmi’s themes are devotion, luck, wealth, relationships, prosperity, love, the harvest and autumn. Her symbols are a lotus, rice, coins and basil.  A favorite Goddess in the Hindu pantheon, Lakshmi brings devoted love into our lives, along with a little luck and extra pocket change to help things along. When called upon, Lakshmi opens the floodgates of heaven to meet our heart’s or budget’s needs.

The annual Lakshmi Puja festival celebrates Lakshmi and honors Her ongoing goodness, which manifests in an abundant autumn harvest.

If you are a merchant or store owner, it’s customary to appeal to Lakshmi today for the ongoing success of your business. You can do this by placing a few grains of rice, some basil, or a coin in your daily tally sheets. This neatly tucks Lakshmi’s fortunate nature into your finances.

For those wishing luck in love, gather a handful of rice cooked in basil water (the cooking process adds energy and emotional warmth). Sprinkle this on the walkway leading up to your home and your preferred vehicle, saying:

‘Lakshmi, let true love find its way to my home;
Let me carry luck with me wherever I roam.’

Keep a pinch of this in an airtight container and carry it with you into social situations. It will act as a charm to improve your chances of meeting potential mates.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “ancient India did not erect temples to this Goddess, for why try to contain the one who embodies Herself in all forms of wealth? Lakshmi is everywhere: in jewels, in coins, in rare shells, in every child born to welcoming parents, and particularly in cows. The well-known reverence for cows in Hindu India is based on the worship of this Goddess, called the Shakti of life-preserving Vishnu. Hindu philosophy defined male godhead as passive and abstract, distant and powerless, unless activated by the Goddess. In Vishnu’s case, his power to maintain and enrich life only functions when Lakshmi inspires it. Therefore it is thought good policy to bestow reverence on those embodiments of wealth-the cows who in some parts of India are simply called ‘lakshmi’ after their owner.

“Laksmi” by Hrana Janto

Some myths say that Lakshmi existed from all time, floating before creation on a lotus; for this She is called Padma (‘lotus-Goddess’), whose symbol became the sign for spiritual enlightenment throughout Asia. Some stories say that Lakshmi sprang up from the ocean when it was churned by the gods, emerging like a jewel in all Her beauty and power, covered with necklaces and pearls, crowned and braceleted, Her body fat and golden [Hhmm, kind of reminds me of someone else I know – Aphrodite or Venus perhaps?]. Many interpreters see the variant legends as recording Lakshmi’s preeminence in pre-Aryan India, where She was Goddess of the earth and its fructifying moisture, and Her later incorporation into Vedic theology when Her worshipers would not abandon their devotion to the lotus Goddess. Once established in the religious amalgam called Hinduism, Lakshmi grew to symbolize not only the wealth of the earth but of the soul as well, becoming a magnificent symbol of the delights of spiritual prosperity” (p. 190).

“Also called Mahalakshmi, She is said to bring good luck and is believed to protect Her devotees from all kinds of misery and money-related sorrows.  Representations of Lakshmi are also found in Jain monuments.

Lakshmi is called Shri or Thirumagal because She is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or Gunas, and also because She is the source of strength even to Vishnu. When Vishnu incarnated on earth as avatars Rama and Krishna, Lakshmi incarnated as his consort. Sita (Rama’s wife), Radha (Krishna’s lover) and Rukmini and the other wives of Krishna are considered forms of Lakshmi.

Lakshmi is worshipped daily in Hindu homes and commercial establishments as the Goddess of wealth. She also enjoys worship as the consort of Vishnu in many temples. The festivals of Diwali and Kojagiri Purnima are celebrated in Her honor.” [1]

Gyan Rajhans breaks down and explains Her iconography and their symbolism:

“The Four Arms & Four Hands

In Goddess Lakshmi’s case upper left back hand represents Dharma (duty). The lower left frontal hand represents Artha (material wealth). The right lower frontal hand represents Kama (desire) and the upper back right hand representsMoksha (salvation).

Half open Lotus (Upper left hand)

In the upper left hand Goddess Lakshmi holds a half-blossomed lotus, which has a hundred petals. In philosophical terms, the number 100 represents the state of Sadhana. Notice that this lotus is basically red. It is not in full blossom. It has streaks of whiteness. The red in it represents Rajoguna, the functional aspect, and the white represents Satoguna, the purity aspect. In other words this symbolizes progress in both mundane and spiritual walks of life side by side.

Gold Coins (Lower left hand)

Invariably this hand of the Goddess is shown dropping gold coins on the ground, where we find an owl sitting. The dropping of coins represents prosperity in all directions, or total prosperity. The gold coins do not only represent money; they also symbolize prosperity at all levels.

Abhaya Mudra (Right lower hand)

Now we come across the right lower hand, which is held in Abhaya Mudra (the pose signifying assurance of freedom from fear). The Gita says fear is caused by unfulfilled desires. The ultimate gift of the Goddess is the blessing of deliverance from fears.

Lotus in The Right Upper Hand

This hand is holding a lotus, which is fully opened; a lotus with one thousand petals (in contrast to the upper left hand holding half open lotus having a hundred petals), which is synonymous with sahasra-ra-chakra (the highest point in the evolution of the Kundalini Shakti). This lotus has a red base, with a blue tinge. The red in it represents ‘Rajas‘ and the blue represents ‘Akasha‘ (space). They signify total evolution.

The Red Sari (dress)

Lakshmi is shown wearing a red sari. It is again the colour of Rajas, which means creative activity. The golden embroidery indicates plenty. This re-affirms the idea of prosperity in general. This is in keeping with Her being the Goddess of prosperity.

Sitting on Lotus

The Goddess is shown sitting on a lotus. This posture means ‘Live in the world, but do not be possessed by the world’. The lotus keeps smiling on surface of water. Its origin is in mud, deep under water but its flowering is above the water-surface. Detachment and evolution is the message of this poetic symbol.

The Owl

The owl sitting on the left side of Lakshmi, where gold coins are falling, represents darkness.

An owl, generally speaking, is a night bird. It is very clever. It can’t see clearly in the daytime.

It represents perversion of attitudes in material prosperity. Undue attachment to wealth shows ignorance (darkness) and disturbs the economic balance in society. If man does not keep his balance when he gets a lot of material resources, he is bound to become a nuisance to himself and to others around him.

Four Fair Elephants Pouring Water (From Golden Vessels)

In common pictures of Lakshmi, we see four whitish elephants pouring water drawn from the ocean on the Goddess. This water is contained in golden vessels. Those four elephants represent the four directions—North, South, East, and West. The white hue here means purity. Wisdom has been occasionally represented in Hindu mythology by the form of an elephant.
The symbol of four elephants pouring water from golden vessels on the Goddess suggests that the chain of Purushartha (endeavour), dharma, artha, kama and moksha has to be continuously strengthened with wisdom, purity and charity.

Thus, we see that the idol or picture of Goddess Lakshmi represents prosperity and activity for achievement of liberation and attainment of self-realization.” [2]

“Lakshmi has many names. She is known to be very closely associated with the lotus, and Her many epithets are connected to the flower, such as:

  • Padma: lotus dweller
  • Kamala: lotus dweller
  • Padmapriya: One who likes lotuses
  • Padmamaladhara devi: One who wears a garland of lotuses
  • Padmamukhi: One whose face is as beautiful as a lotus
  • Padmakshi: One whose eyes are as beautiful as a lotus
  • Padmahasta: One who holds a lotus
  • Padmasundari: One who is as beautiful as a lotus

Her other names include:

  • Vishnupriya: One who is the beloved of Vishnu
  • Ulkavahini: One who rides an owl

Her other names include: Manushri, Chakrika, Kamalika, Lalima, Kalyani, Nandika, Rujula, Vaishnavi, Samruddhi, Narayani, Bhargavi, Sridevi, Chanchala, Jalaja, Madhavi, Sujata, Shreya and Aiswarya. She is also referred to as Jaganmaatha (‘Mother of the Universe’) in Shri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam. Rama and Indira are popular.” [3]

 

Lakshmi Chalisa is a forty verse prayer dedicated to Maha Lakshmi. Verses are usually dedicated to praise the goddess. The acts and deeds of Goddess Lakshmi are recalled in these verses to aid the devotee to meditate on virtuous and noble qualities.

 

 

I also really liked this video too.  This is Lakshmi Ashtottara Satha Nama Stotram – 108 names of Goddess Lakshmi Devi and is a Hindu devotional mantra.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Lakshmi”.

Rajhans, Gyan. Gyansrajhans.blogspot.com, “Ma Lakshmi’ Symbols explained“.

Wikipedia, “Lakshmi“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Andromeda. Order of the White Moon, “Lakshmi“.

Barkemeijer de Wit, Rhiannon. Pyramidcompany.com, “Who Is Goddess Lakshmi?

Blue, Nazarri. Order of the White Moon, “Lakshmi“.

Brockway, Laurie Sue. Goddessgift.com, “Lakshmi, Hindu Goddess of Good Fortune“.

Das, Subhamoy. Hinduism.about.com, “Lakshmi: Goddess of Wealth & Beauty!“.

Exotic India, “Lakshmi: The Lotus Goddess“.

Gil / Govinda. Myspace.com, “Symbolism of Lakshmi devi: Very Important!

Kumar, Nitin. Exoticindiaart.com, “Hindu Goddesses – Lakshmi and Saraswati“.

Omgan.com, “Goddess Lakshmi Worship“.

Pandit, Bansi. Koausa.org, “Goddess Lakshmi“.

Sai MahaLakshmi.com, “Goddess Lakshmi Maha Lakshmi“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sri Lakshmi“.

 

Goddess Kamala

“Kamala’s themes are spirituality, love, relationships, passion and pleasure. Her symbols are the color yellow and lotuses.  The Hindu ‘lotus girl’ of pleasure promotes ongoing faithfulness in our relationships inspired by mutual enjoyment and an abundance of love. Kamala also makes us aware of the spiritual dimensions in our physical exchanges that sometimes get overlooked.

In India, today is a time to celebrate the birth of Krishna, the most charming and kind incarnation of Vishnu. Kamala, as one of Lakshimi’s incarnations, joins in this festivity as his lover and companion. To participate in the gala, eat Indian food, especially hot, spicy items that ignite passion (although you may want to follow this meal with breath mints and antacids). Anything that includes cinnamon, garlic or saffron is a good alternative choice, as these items bear Kamala’s lusty energy.

To improve your ability to give and receive love, including self-love, wear yellow-colored clothing today, especially an item that is worn near the heart chakra (a blouse, shirt, tie, bra or perhaps a gold necklace or tie back). As you don that item, say,

‘Let pleasure flow freely from my heart;
Kamala, abide there – your love impart.’

Wear this piece of clothing or jewelry again anytime you enact spells or rituals focused on sexuality or relationships.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Goddess Kamala is one of the Ten Mahavidyas who is known as the wisdom Goddesses.  She is also the Hindu Goddess of consciousness and creation.  Goddess Kamala is represented as a beautiful woman adorned with golden skin and seated or standing on a lotus.  She is also seen holding two more lotuses that symbolize both fertility and purity.  The Goddess is accompanied by huge elephants who pour jars of nectar on Her.  Goddess Kamala is considered as the Mahavidya form of Goddess Lakshmi, who represents wealth and beauty.  As one of the Ten Mahavidyas Goddess Kamala represents the unfolding of inner consciousness into the richness of creation.  The Goddess is known for the power to eradicate poverty, both material and spiritual.  Kamala’s name, which means, ‘She of the lotus’ is also seen as Kamalatmika.

Kamala Goddess has an elegant golden complexion.  In Her four hands She holds two lotuses and is seen granting boons and giving assurance to Her devotees.  She wears a dazzling crown on Her head and puts on a silken dress.  She also wears a kaustibha Gem and has a smiling face.  The Goddess is seen seated on a lotus in a lotus posture.  As the Goddess of material and spiritual wealth and beauty, Kamala is worshipped during tough economic times.  She is a benign Goddess who blesses Her devotees with good luck, power, wealth and safety.

Goddess Kamala is also widely known for Her creative force.  She has the power to create beauty and wealth around us, and to see beauty in everything.  The bija mantra or the seed mantra of the Goddess is EE.  In transliterated Sanskrit there would be an i with the line over the top.  One needs to place an M after the EE, to make EEM.  This would show Her complete energy in beej form.  From EE sound to closed M makes the range of Her Shakti.  This is the primal Shakti beej, this sound is heard in all other beejam such as Shreem, Hreem, Kreem.  This EEM beej is sometimes named as Yoni beej.  Yoni is the form of a female’s sex organ and is in form of a lotus.  It is the basic female principle.  Goddess Kamala is also considered the most beautiful Mahavidya.” [1]

“Kamala as lotus Goddess also represents developement of the person by maintaining the dharma of keeping the seven chakras open. She upholds sadhana. Lotus=chakra. Lotus Goddess is advancement Goddess. This is why She, as Shree or Lakshmi, is called Shakti of Shiva.

In beauty the Goddesses who most represent Her are Shree, Lakshmi, Bala, and Lalita. She is very sattvic like Venus or Aphrodite, and of the Mahavidyas most like the Christian Mary.

Kamala is the first and most primal female energy. More developed, She takes on the other qualities of the other Mahavidyas. In fact, there is really no difference here because we are discussing deities that can change forms like lycantropes.

When God manifests She does so to suit the moment like how we humans dress for success. We don’t always try to look uptight and professional, sometimes we like to dress down in bikinis and relax. Kamala is very much dressed down and relaxed.

To worship Her in any form is acceptable because She is in all forms as all forms are from Prakriti or Mother Nature. We still maintain decorum even in bikinis. So also Her worship entails restraint. She is the Light Goddess and likes fine and sattvic things and actions like charity.

As bride of Vishnu She loves a person who preserves other lives.

Ask Her to help and She will give you Her blessings. But remain generous and faithful or She will be fickle. You should worship Her during hard times for relief. She gives peace, prosperity and pleasure, and moksha.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Bernhardt, Kirk. Shaktisadhana.50megs.com, Shakti Sadhana – Kamala“.

Indianetzone.com, “Goddess Kamala, Indian Goddess“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Divinetantrictouch.com, “How to Worship Kamala – Lotus Goddess of Spiritual Wealth“.

Kamakhyamandir.org, “Kamala: Lotus Goddess of Spiritual Wealth“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Kamala“.

Wikipedia, “Kamalatmika“.

Goddess Rangda

"Rangda's Illusion" - unknown

“Rangda’s themes are thankfulness, magic and fertility.  Her symbols are a pregnant Goddess, round-shaped fruits, hibiscus and the color yellow.  A witch Goddess in Bali, Rangda takes on a function many witches have throughout history, that of a woman’s helpmate, especially in conception. To men, Rangda offers physical fertility or improved energy for magical workings.

Now that the earth is fertile, Rangda’s power is even more abundant. To commemorate this and generate some literal or figurative fertility in your life, do as the Balinese do. Wear saffron dyed (yellow) clothes, and leave Rangda an offering of fruit or flowers somewhere special. As you do, pray for an unborn child’s well-being, for pregnancy, or for fruitful productivity in whatever area of your life needs it most.

Rangda can fulfil your desire for successful living. To manifest Her profuseness, take a round watermelon and cut it in half. Make melon balls, and add any other round-shaped fruit (especially tropical fruit). Before eating, add this incantation:

‘Rangda, fullfil me
Rangda, complete me
As my hunger is filled
Let my spirit find satisfaction.’

Eating the fruit salad internalizes Her sweet, helpful energy.

Finally, to invoke Rangda’s blessing and aid in conception, decorate your bedroom with yellow highlights before making love. Find a yellow light bulb, put yellow-toned sheets on your bed, and place yellow flowers (or hibiscus) by the bed.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

"Rangda" by unded

Terrifying deities, spirits and other supernatural creatures are a common theme throughout the world’s different cultures and mythologies; in East Asia, the Goddess Rangda is one such example. “Rangda is the ‘Witch Goddess of Bali’ and the ‘Queen of Sorcery’ and a symbol of darkness.  She is the ancient widow who dances over graves.  She is the source of supernatural power and is depicted as a nude old woman with large breasts, long and tangled red hair (representing wildness), sharp teeth, and flames spewing form Her mouth.  She is associated with the sea…which most Balinese fear.*  She possesses righteous people and drives them to sinful behavior.  She is the model of untamed fertility that can be dangerous to overcome.” [1]

"Rangda's Girl" by LowKeyReality

Rangda can be identified with the wrathful form of the Hindu god Shiva as Bhairava, portrayed in his legends. The demon queen is everything that the Balinese abhor and try to stay away from in their everyday lives. Her name has been translated as meaning ‘widow’. She is depicted in art as a repugnant, cannibalistic demon with enormous fangs and shown devouring babies or shown with skulls and garlands of entrails. She is believed to be death itself, haunting graves and the death temples. Her followers are said to be the leyak (humans who have cannibalistic tastes like that of their mistress), who are given their powers by the Goddess Herself to kill people out of malice.” [2]

It has been suggested that the Goddess Rangda derives from an 11th century Balinese queen, Mahendradatta or Gunapriyadharmapatni, a Javanese princess sister of Dharmawangsa of East Javanese Isyana Dynasty of late Medang Kingdom period, who was exiled by the king for practicing witchcraft against his second wife. In retaliation for this, the queen attempted to destroy the king and his kingdom. She was eventually overcome by the powers of a holy man, but not before half the population died from plague. [3] [4]

Another story says that She is “the incarnation of Calon Arang, the legendary witch that wrecked havoc in ancient Java during the reign of Airlangga in late 10th century. It is said that Calon Arang was a widow, powerful in black magic, who often damaged farmer’s crops and caused disease to come. She had a girl, named Ratna Manggali, who, though beautiful, could not get a husband because people were afraid of her mother. Because of the difficulties faced by her daughter, Calon Arang was angry and she intended to take revenge by kidnapping a young girl. She brought the girl to a temple to be sacrificed to the Goddess Durga. The next day, a great flood engulfed the village and many people died. Disease also appeared.

King Airlangga, who had heard of this matter, then asked for his advisor, Empu Bharada, to deal with this problem. Empu Bharada then sent his disciple, Empu Bahula, to be married to Ratna. Both were married with a huge feast that lasted seven days and seven nights, and the situation returned to normal. Calon Arang had a book that contained magic incantations. One day, this book was found by Empu Bahula, who turned it over to Empu Bharada. As soon as Calon Arang knew that the book had been stolen, she became angry and decided to fight Empu Bharada. Without the help of Durga, Calon Arang was defeated. Since she was defeated, the village was safe from the threat of Calon Arang’s black magic.” [5]

Rangda is believed to be the enemy of Baraong Ket, the leader of the forces of good, and battles with him with Her army of evil witches. Although She is constantly defeated by the forces of good, (Baraong Ket), She always turns to battle again.  She is closely associated with the Indian Goddess Durga, and may also be linked to Kali, the dark mother of destruction, transformation and protection in Hinduism. [6] [7]

“While many may see Her as fearsome, if treated well, She is actually to be considered a protective force in some parts of Bali, and in this form, She is sometimes depicted as beautiful.  Her colors are black, white and red.  The Balinese people believe that by including Rangda in ritual dramas, they hold the dangers of chaos in check.” [8]

Click here to watch a scene from such a theatrical Balinese performance depicting the Barong and his assistants trying to attack the Rangda.

Photo from 'Life of a Lil Notti Monkey: Barong and Rangda *by JS*'. Click on the photo to visit the site and view more pictures from the Barong and Rangda Dance.

“Today, She is mainly known by westerners as an evil character in a play where Her legends are staged. As a pemurtian, Rangda stands for the wrathful forms of Durga, Shiva (Bhairava), and Vishnu in Balinese theatre. Although known for Her terrifying intentions, as scholars have stated, even as ‘widow-witch’, the Goddess Rangda ‘functions in a paradoxically protective way. Within the metaphoric world of the Calon Arang story, Rangda is the mistress of black magic and the container of all that is monstrous and evil. But within the effective structure of ritual, She functions as the protector of the community, defusing the power of those who practice black magic and directly challenging human malefactors to match their powers against hers.'” [9]

I would like to leave you with this final thought:  Johanna Stuckey wrote an article entitled “Goddesses and Demons: Some Thoughts” and puts it best as stated here, “These female demons [Rangda, LamashtuLilithMedusa] from different cultures have much in common, and their commonalities reflect male-dominated societies’ disapproval of females of the uppity sort, as well as implicit approval for their opposite, the feminine, biddable wives and daughters. The demons are all physically hideous. All are anti-mothers in one way or another, and all are childless or give birth in abnormal ways. All are dangerous and threaten humans with both diseases and death. All live in exile or, at least, are distanced from the cultures that produced them. All, eventually even the dead Medusa, partake to some extent of deity. All are independent of men and to a large extent autonomous. Finally, all are brought under control by males.

"The Rangda" by adhytcadelic

All possess characteristics that undermine or challenge male-dominated societies. War-like societies such as those of Mesopotamia could find a use for Inanna/Ishtar‘s warrior characteristics. So She became a war Goddess, while Her sexual self became a Goddess of love. Thus divided, She was less of a threat to a developing patriarchy. Demonizing the dangerous elements of a minor goddess performed a similar function, and it also provided a scapegoat for when things went wrong, as they always would. Perhaps at one time Rangda was a sea Goddess, who became evil because of where She came from. It seems likely that Lamashtu and Lilith were once minor deities who both caused infant death and disease and protected against them.  And Medusa — what do we make of Her? Certainly male-dominated society co-opted Her “malevolence” to serve its burgeoning state. Her snaky head became a powerful warding-off or apotropaic device on shields and on temples and other buildings to be protected. Such analysis is not new, I know, but I am surprised to find that it applies just as neatly to Balinese culture as it does to cultures that fed into ours. Still, perhaps this shouldn’t surprise me.” [10]

 

* It’s important to note that in the Balinese culture the sky is divine while the sea is demoniac, as in the best patriarchal tradition. Rangda is probably the heir of a pre-Hindu Goddess of the sea turned into a demon the same way that often occurred in history at the changeover with patriarchal cultures. [11]

 

 

 

Sources:

Lysianassa. Bukisa.com, “The History and Significance of the Goddess Rangda“.

Pirera, Anna. Goddess Gallery, “Kali“.

Stella. Goddesses and Gods, “Goddess Rangda“.

Stuckey, Johanna. MatriFocus: Cross-Quarterly for the Goddess Woman (Beltane 2007 Vol 6 – 3), “Goddesses and Demons: Some Thoughts“.

Wikipedia, “Rangda“.

Suggested Links:

Padangtegal, Desa Adat. Monkeyforestbud.com, “The Temples: Indian Hindu Gods and Goddesses“.

Goddess Sri

“Sri’s themes are joy, protection, fertility, insight, and wealth.  Her symbols are the color blue and pink lotuses. In Nepal, Sri, which means ‘prosperity’, is said to protect the Dalai Lama. Invoke Her to bring abundance for tax paying! Sri is portrayed as having three eyes, giving Her the additional power of perspective when ours is lacking.

Celebration of the Nepalese new year, Nava Varsha, includes heartfelt greetings for luck and ritual bathing for fertility. As you see people today, smile brightly and wish them a good day. This provokes Sri’s fortunate energy and a little extra felicity wherever you go.

Wearing something blue today makes Sri happy, which in turn sharpens Sri’s shrewdness in you to promote a safe, frugal day. Or, carry a tumbled soldalite for Sri’s focus, a blue topaz for Her help in maintaining financial reserves, or a turquoise so that Sri will preserve your well-being.

Try this visualisation when you need Sri’s attributes to begin blossoming in your spirit: Envision an unopened pink flower in the region of your heart. Above, the sun shines with the pink-blue light of dawn and beats with the rhythm of your blood. You feel your heart’s petals open to embrace it, accepting the warmth and energy without reservation. As your soul-flower absorbs the light, you can see it is a lotus, Sri’s flower. She is there with you now, in your hearth, to call on as needed.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Goddess Shri Devi, or Sridevi, is one of the numerous forms of Goddess Lakshmi and is the prime Goddess among the various Vishnava Goddesses, to include Bhūmi, or Bhu Devi, and Nila Devi who are also said to be different manifestations of Lakshmi worshipped in Hindu religion. Legend has it that Goddess Laxmi appeared in the form of Sridevi during the Samudra manthan or the ‘churning of the ocean’. This is mentioned in the Vishnu Purana. Goddess Shri Devi was one among the precious items that appeared during the churning of the ocean.

Hindu holy scriptures mention that in the form of Sridevi, Goddess Lakshmi has the face like that of full moon with red lips. She has a benign and smiling face. In this form, She is dressed in white color sari and wears jewelry. The young age of Goddess Lakshmi is depicted in the Sridevi form.

Goddess Sridevi is usually visualized as having two hands and sitting in Padmasana. In some scriptures She is mentioned as having four hands and She carries a pasha (noose), ankush (shining hook), rosary and lotus.” [1]

She is the beloved inseparable consort of Vishnu, his ‘Shakti‘ or power, enjoying the same status of Vishnu.  “When Sri Devi (Lakshmi) and Vishnu are depicted together they are known as Lakshmi-Narayana. In many instances, as seen below, Devi Lakshmi manifests as two separate Goddesses, Shri Devi and Bhu Devi, who appear on either side of Lord Vishnu. While the former denotes energy, the latter represents fertility.

Both the Goddesses are depicted similarly, wearing exactly the same clothes, ornaments and even a similar crown, signifying that the Lord holds equal affection for both. Their red saris and green blouses have wide gold borders, much like the beautiful zari saris made in South India. The South Indian influence is also evident in the high tower-like crown of Lord Vishnu, while that of the two ladies definitely betrays a Mughal influence.” [2]

“While Sri Devi as previously mentioned enjoys the same status as Vishnu, She is however held in higher esteem by the Vaishnava acharyas.  This is due to the fact that She possesses certain motherly qualities such as compassion (daya) and forgiveness (ksama) on account of which She has a tendency to overlook the offenses of the devotees.  She also has a tender affection (vatsalya) towards all beings like a mother towards a child, by not taking notice of their offenses.  Above all, She has natural inclination to shower grace (anugraha) upon all.” [3]

 

There were some really beautiful videos on Youtube dedicated to Lakshmi and I ended up choosing this one to share with you all.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Exotic India, “Lord Vishnu with Manifested Energy and Fertility“.

IndiaNetzone, “Goddess Sri, Vaishnava Goddess“.

IndiaNetzone, “Vaishnava Goddesses“.

Rajendran, Abhilash. Hindu Blog, “Goddess Shri Devi – About Hindu Goddess Sridevi“.

 

Suggested Links:

Devotional Only, “VaraLakshmi Vratam – Pooja Procedure and Story“.

Exotic India, “Lakshmi: The Lotus Goddess“.

Sai MahaLakshmi.com, “Goddess Lakshmi Maha Lakshmi“.

SaiSathyaSai.com, “Mother Lakshmi Devi – Goddess of Wealth“.

Sri Venkateswara Temple, “About Temple – Sridevi (Lakshmi) and Bhudevi (Andal)“.

Wikipedia, “Sri sukta“.

Goddess Tamra

“Tamra’s themes are air, earth, nature, health, longevity, devotion, wishes and relationships.  Her symbols are feathers and birdseed.  In Hindu tradition, this Goddess was the ancestor of all birds, She can teach us their special language, which often bears communications from the divine. As the consort of the turtle god, Kashyapa, She also represents a potent union between earth and air elements.

People in Nebraska spend six weeks watching the cranes who rest and feed here during the migratory season. This region of the United States boats the largest group of sand hill cranes, about fifty thousand birds.

Magically speaking, these creatures represent health, longevity and devotion. Visualise a crane residing in your heart chakra anytime you need improved well-being.

Birds offer numerous magical applications. For warmth in a relationship, scatter feathers to the winds with your wish. The birds will use the feathers in their nests, symbolically keeping your nest intact and affectionate.

Or, disperse birdseed while thinking of a question. As the birds fly away, watch their movement. Flight to the right indicates a positive response; to the left is negative. If the birds scatter, things are iffy. If they fly straight up overhead, a heartfelt wish is being taken to Tamra.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Yet, another Goddess that proved to be elusive.  Apparently, She was one of the 13 daughters of the Prajapati Daksha (AditiDitiKadruDanu, Arishta, Surasa, SurabhiVinata, Tamra, Krodhavaśā, Ida, Khasa and Muni) all of whom were given in marriage to Kashyapa.[1]  The only real mention I found of Her was in the Agni Purāṇa (a genre of Hindu religious texts, containing the descriptions and details of various incarnations (avatars) of Vishnu).  It states, “Kasyapa was the son of Marici, who was the son of Brahma. Kasyapa’s wife Tamra had many daughters like Kaki, Syeni, Bhasi, Grdhrka, Suki and Griva. From Kaki were born the crows in the world.” [2]

“Tamra had six daughters. These were the mothers of the birds and of goats, horse, sheep, camels and donkeys.” [3]

Sources:

Bharatadesam: everything about india, “Matsya Purana” (down to subheading “Daksha’s Descendants“).

Parmeshwaranand, Swami. Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Purāṇas: S-Z, “Kaka (Crow)” at p. 717.

Wikipedia, “Kashyap“.

Suggested Links:

Hamilton, Francis. Genealogies of the Hindus: Extracted From Their Sacred Writings… 

International Gita Society, “1. Brahma Purana

Yahoo! Answers: India, “Hinduism – Why the Crows are referred our ancestors? What about other birds?

Goddess Aditi

"Universal music" by MysticalMike

“Aditi’s themes are luck, change, perspective, time, protection, prosperity, overcoming obstacles and divination.  Her symbols are butter, the number twelve and anything that changes shape.  Aditi means ‘unfettered’. In India She represents the infinite sky and the boundlessness of time and space. She offers us this expansive perspective – one in which we are citizens of eternity. Additionally, Aditi is a protector who aids in averting or surmounting difficulties. In regional prayers, people refer to Her as the ever-young protectress who guides life’s boat safely through the roughest waters.

Buddhists believe that the world is transient – that only spirit is eternal. The Butter Festival illustrates this concept with huge butter statues of heroes that are torn, distributed to participants for luck, or tossed in a river to melt away into time. Following this custom, take out an ice cube. Relax and watch the ice as it melts. Consider: Is the ice still there, even though it’s gone? Similarly, does the spirit exist outside its ‘shape’ – the body?

For a less ponderous way of honoring Aditi, light twelve candles (yellow is ideal) and watch the flame. Hindus use butter lamps instead, but this is far easier! If the flames appear dark red, your spirit is filled with strife. Mottled flames indicate weakness, tall flames symbolize mental clarity, crescent-shaped ones reveal a peaceful soul, and round ones proclaim magical power.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“One of India’s most honored Goddesses is Aditi. The name means “limitless.” In that respect, it fits Her well because She is considered to be all encompassing.

"Conceiving the Heavens" by B30wuLf

A strong and mighty deity, Aditi is also called Mother Space. As such, She is credited with giving birth to the planets and the stars, which in turn tie her to the seven dimensions of the cosmos. It is said that she has a special connection to the Milky Way, although that connection is never fully explained.

Considered a highly benevolent and gentle Goddess, Aditi holds an honored position in the pantheon of Indian Gods and Goddesses. She is the Goddess of the past as well as the Goddess of the future. She is also the keeper of the light that illuminates all life and ensures consciousness.

According to Hindu myth, Aditi was given as consort to Kasyapa. She gave birth to many children including Vishnu (in his early stages of life) and Krishna (in the latter stages). He is, of course, a figure of great import among the Hindu. Aditi’s son Mitra was god of the sun while Her son, Varuna, was god of the moon. Another of her children, the great Goddess Indra, was called the mother of kings because Her children fathered a long line of rulers.

"Aditi" from The Book of Goddesses by Kris Waldherr

However, Aditi is best known as the mother of the Adityas. These children were amed in Her honor and were later associated with the signs of the zodiac. They were also believed to protect humankind from all illness and catastrophe.

All of this would certainly seem to make Aditi the ultimate mother; having given birth to those who, in turn, brought life to everything else including plants, animals, and human beings. She became the guardian of all life and the supporter of all creatures.

It is in this latter role, that Her people often seek Her assistance in much the same way that a human child would turn to his or her mother. Her children ask for help from everything from sickness to sin. She, in turn, assists them in finding the path that will bring them the happiness and contentment they deserve.

The Goddess Aditi is often shown in the guise of the cow. The reference is considered particularly honorable because of the nurturing parallel. She sustains all life and nourishes the earth in much the same way that a cow nurtures and nourishes human beings with its milk.

Some claim that, while Aditi is always present even though She cannot be seen, that she will make Herself fully visible at the advent of the apocalypse. It is then that She will wrap Her children in Her eternal cloak and protect them for all eternity.” [1]

 

Here is a  reading from “The Book of Goddesses” by  Kris Waldherr about Aditi

 

 

Sources:

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Yahoo! Voices, “Aditi: Uncovering the Myth of the Indian Goddess”.

 

Suggested Links:

Hinduwebsite, “Aditi, the Mother of Gods“.

Mystic Wicks, “Aditi – अदिति {Goddess of the Week}

Path to the Soul, “Aditi: The Goddess of Void and New Creation

Sitarik, Jessica. Crystal Vaults, “Aditi: Hindu Goddess of the Boundless Sky“.

Wikipedia, “Aditi“.

Goddess Shakti

“Shakti’s themes are protection, banishing and communication.  Her symbols are the number six, magic charms and lotuses.  The Tibetan supreme feminine power, Shakti does not stand by idle when we are in distress. She is an active, loving force for change. When called upon, Shakti manifests within us as intelligence, instinct, willpower, energy, action, and ultimately, magic. Shakti especially energizes communication skills, so that our words will be heard clearly and understood.

Losar is the Tibetan new year celebration, highlighted by monks casting out negative influences using brilliant colored costumes, masks and joyful dancing. Burn lotus incense (or any sweet, floral scent) to remember Shakti today, and fill your living space with Her abundant power for positive transformation.

Alternatively, boil some pleasant-smelling cooking spices in water to release their aroma and energy throughout the sacred space of your home.

If possible, make a mask or a token that represents what you want Shakti to banish. Put it on (or carry it) early in the day, and remove it vigorously sometime during your festivities. Bury this with six stones (to represent Shakti’s control) to symbolically bury the bad habit or situation, giving it into Shakti’s care.

In keeping with today’s celebrations, wear bright-colored clothing to chase away evil influences, which cannot bear the sight of radiant beauty.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Shakti (Devanagariशक्ति) from Sanskrit shak – “to be able,” meaning sacred force or empowerment, is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe in Hinduism.  Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as ‘The Great Divine Mother‘ in Hinduism. On the earthly plane, Shakti most actively manifests through female embodiment and creativity/fertility, though it is also present in males in its potential, unmanifest form.

Not only is the Shakti responsible for creation, it is also the agent of all change. Shakti is cosmic existence as well as liberation, its most significant form being the Kundalini Shakti, a mysterious psychospiritual force.  Shakti exists in a state of svātantrya, dependence on no-one, being interdependent with the entire universe.

In Shaktism, Shakti is worshiped as the Supreme Being. However, in other Hindu traditions of Shaivism and Vaishnavism, Shakti embodies the active feminine energy Prakriti of Purusha, who is Vishnu in Vaishnavism or Shiva in Shaivism. Vishnu’s female counterpart is called Lakshmi, with Parvati being the female half of Shiva.” [1]

"Shakti" by Dhira Lawrence

“The primal stirring of pure awareness that gives rise to existence is Shakti. Pure awareness is static, transcendent, peace, unmoving, and unchanging. Shakti is dynamic energy, immanent, love, and perpetually moving and changing. Pure awareness is masculine while Shakti is feminine. Thus, it is the divine feminine that produces universes without end and all the beings that occupy them. In Taoist terminology, pure awareness would be yang while Shakti would be yin. Thus Shakti is resolve, will and energy and She is expansive. The sum total of all the energy in existence and the will to direct it is Shakti. Every God in Hinduism has his Shakti and without Her energy they have no power. The play of female energy has no beginning and no end. Although restless by nature, it cycles through periods of rest and motion.” [2]

“For men to fully understand women and for women to realize their nature and be it, both have to come to understanding of the Shakti, the Goddess, or the Kundalini energy, the feminine of the Universe. The nature of this phenomena is very complex, but if you get friendly with Her it will tell you Her secrets. There is no forceful way to Her; She will be only furious in reply, or depressed, or tricky. Love and playfulness, sincerity and innocence are Her ways. She can be innocent about dirtiest things in the world, but responsible and protective like mother as well. She has few main aspects you have to understand and She can play different roles at different times. Woman – she is the: mother, home keeper, lover, destroyer. Shakti is the mother of all, and of you, too; She is a cuddly and warm, protecting you from the troubles of the world and emotional turmoil, a healer. She is the beautiful maiden, the vessel of desire and passion, and she is the bitch who can destroy you better than anybody else. All Goddesses of the world are manifestation of Shakti, the mother of All, who has many names and forms. In Indian folklore, for example, Tara is a healer, who guides you safely through emotional floods, Shodashi is the beautiful ever-young maiden who loves you, and Kali is the destroyer, who, however, help you to overcome ignorance and fear of death. They all are aspects of the Goddess.” [3]

Click  here for more information on Shakti

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